Archive for January, 2006
Not to keep harping on this, but I’m just so disappointed with Oprah I could spit. I thought she really got it when she made that call to Larry King to say that Frey’s book still resonated with her despite the fact that the facts weren’t really facts. It was like watching a vegetarian who continues to devour a casserole after finding out it is hamburger helper. She didn’t care what it was made of; she liked it. But then she went and took it back: “I made a mistake and I left the impression that the truth does not matter and I am deeply sorry about that. That is not what I believe.” The truth doesn’t matter in a lot of facets in America, especially the biz she is in. Having her own magazine, she has to know the importance placed on airbrushing. It’s like saying, “Oh, you actually have blotchy skin? I feel duped.”
Sitting next to Oprah, Frey admitted that his girlfriend killed herself by slitting her wrists not by hanging herself. And although I do wonder how he judges which manner of offing yourself is most marketable, I have to say sheesh..it’s suicide. Either way, it is a horrible thing that happened.
The book is still what it always was, good writing. If you can capture jail time in a way that impacts people without having to actually spend 87 days there, I say you saved the tax payers money and you go, boy.
January 26th, 2006
As socially cripling as it may sometimes be, I buy comic books. I buy them because I like them. I grew up liking them - they’re great. Lately my favorite superhero, Spider-man, has been going through some changes in Marvel’s new storyline, The Other. I don’t want to ruin the story for you if you’re going to read it but the real deal behind the whole thing is the brand new costume Spider-man is getting in next month’s Amazing Spider-Man #529. This new costume (designed by Joe Quesada) is being built by Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man and in my opinion looks particularly cheap.
I understand that Marvel has to sell books and nothing sells comics quite like a new Spider-man costume but this one just has me worried. I don’t know if it’s just too shiny for me or what but he looks like a giant bowling trophy. What do you think about it?
January 25th, 2006
I’ve been meaning to make a list like this since I started the site. So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite illustrators and artists out there right now. Each one of them gives me that “I wish I could do that” feeling. They make me hungrier. This is just my way of paying my respect to them so please don’t be upset with me. Make sure you check all of them out because each and everyone is something special. Pig out… no one’s watching…
January 24th, 2006
Not that anyone is begging me for an original poem, but since the birth of this blog, I have been fighting with myself to post one. So here it is.
This poem was written ”after” or in the style of New York School poet Frank O’Hara, an easy poet to fall for. In particular, I am mimicking “Why I am not a painter.” He had a Romantic life, friends with so many hip post-modern artists of his time. Many people know him for his lunch poems, written on scrap or napkins everyday on his lunch break, or for his poem, “The Day Lady Died,” written after Billy Holiday’s death. He made the I-do-this-I-do-that type of poem famous. His manifesto, Personsim, is sarcastic and deadly serious all at once, perfectly consistent with his style of poetry and his death from a dune buggy accident. He was just run over while walking on the beach. Absurd.
If you like this type of writing, check out “Lana Turner Has Collapsed.” It’s hilarious.
my friend Michael is looking
at photos of other artists’
models to get ideas
for a painting when I drop in.
We stare at his white canvas.
I say, “It needs something.”
He says, “My own model.” After
I pose, he sits naked for me. I write
a line about his eyes—a whole page
of how his eyes take after
his mother’s when she stirs Borscht.
I make up stories (I am a poet)
based on the Polish Festival pictures
she’s taken: This is when Dad split
his pants dancing. I scratch that, focus
on Michael’s hands
balling Easter bread dough.
I try tracing one of them
on my page as a child might begin
a drawing of a Thanksgiving Turkey.
I keep thinking about
his floured hands. I think
white and fill the lines with
his hands on my neck. I think about
the difference between white and whiter.
But there should be so much more.
Of life, of how terrible
bread is and dune buggies.
I wash him out, and the words
create an imprecise synecdoche, a loose rib.
I look at his paintings, then my page.
His hands look smaller
in the place I’ve made for them—like a garden
in the middle of nowhere, like a mere
epigraph to his body.
January 24th, 2006
So what’s a Bran-man? The truth is, I don’t know the anwser to that question. My best guess is that it’s simply a creative outlet to try out your illustration and design skills within the confines of a simple object. Very similar to all the Dunnies you see everybody doing right now only these aren’t a physical thing. Here’s what you do if you’re interested in making one:
1. Go to http://www.bran-man.com
2. Download the templates & logos
3. Draw the dang thing
4. Email it back to them with a short description
Pretty simple huh? If they like it they’ll put it up with all the other cool brans that have been made. If they really like it then it might even make it into this book. I made the one big one in the picture above, it’s called “Overworked Einstein” even though I’m starting to think it looks more like Dr. Wily from Mega Man. I submitted it yesterday and I’ll keep you updated if it makes the site.
(UPDATE: Well, My bran made the website but couldn’t get into the book because it just went to press the day after I submited. Thanks for the add fellas.)
January 20th, 2006
On NPR last Friday, Commentator Ahmed Tharwat related how he and his family celebrate Muslim holiday Eid al-Adh. First stop: prayer room. Then a quick bagel before heading off to the Mall of America. Even more amazing to me was that thousands of Muslims in Minnesota celebrate in this way.
It’s so delicious. Where to begin? First and most obvious, the irony. He describes the Muslim women, covered head to toe in black, stark against a Victoria Secret store front. It’s just too good. And then there is the fact that they don’t buy anything. They are using a place that uses so many Americans. They have no bags to lug. No wallets to lose. It’s almost as good as New Year’s, which I love because people are not expected to be with their families but are expected to get drunk.
Although I am puzzled as to why they chose this location (maybe I missed something in the commentary. If so, please let me know), I’m tickled. It’s the Mall of America, and Midwestern Muslims are using it in such the opposite way that most Americans do. They make a pilgrimage to it during one of their biggest religious celebrations all year. Most Americans’ biggest celebration of the year revolves around buying. For most of us, the mall is not an alternate location for worship. And especially for someone like me, who doesn’t do much besides shop and eat on the holidays, it is, in a sense, my sole means of worshipping. God bless the Midwest.
January 19th, 2006
Michael Golembewski has built himself a camera. A 115,200,000 pixels per image camera. This guy is a genius. He fused a 8×11 lens to an old Horseman 450L monorail 4×5 camera then attached a modified Canon LIDE 20 scanner to the back to capture the image. It’s crude for sure but simply amazing. What makes it so interesting, other than the fact it’s the only one in the world, is the motion distortion that is similar to something sliding on a scanner bed.
Thursday Link Dump:
Jon the Impaler for Governor?
Sons of Stolen
The Chemical Brothers - Believe (.mov) (I can only imagine that this is what my roommate Durk’s nightmares must consist of.)
January 19th, 2006
Yet another attempt of mine to work on my graff skills. I thought this one would look really cool on a pair of Nike Air Force Ones. The holy grail of sneakers. I’ve tried to airbrush before and it’s not easy, so don’t expect me to sit down with a fresh pair of kicks and deface them anytime soon. The guys at Sneaker Pimps do it better.
Don’t you ever step on my Air Force Ones.
January 17th, 2006
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey has been one of those books, much like Sedaris’ nonfiction, that the whole world seems to read or talk about at the same time. Every time a book like this comes out, I am suspicious. As my high school Spanish teacher used to say, “There’s a cat in the closet.”
Low and behold, my gut was right this time. Smoking Gun had revealed Frey fudged a lot of his content. And now there is all this talk over whether it matters that he mislead the reader or not. I can hear the excitement from MFA creative writing workshops everywhere as they return to that old discussion of what is truth in nonfiction and if we can ever really trust memory. I sound facetious, but it is a fascinating discussion that makes me think everything should just be called make believe.
To me, the debate over Frey’s deception is a sunk cost. People have already enjoyed the book. SUCKAS. And actually readers should be thankful. They got a good read and a scandal all for $14.95.
As for the question of what to call Frey’s book, fiction or quasi-nonfiction, or the new nonfiction, or the anti-nonfiction fiction, I vote we create a new genre of literature and art called “Blair Witch.” It gives the illusion of real events occurring so that people get all excited and freaked, but it really is just a regular, old made-up story.
The University Diary site recaps the Larry King show in which Oprah calls in (she is referred to as “God herself descending.” So great. Equally funny is Tim Carvell’s spoof on it in the NYT.
January 13th, 2006
I’m still figuring out my techniques/process when it comes to coming up with this kind of stuff. It seems like there isn’t a wrong way about putting something like graffiti together but still takes me a long time to come up with a comp like this. Playing with type just feels good to me, although when I add colors it seems to loose legibility. I hope you like it, hopefully I’ll get better at it the more I try.
January 12th, 2006
Ashley Wood. I’ve been a fan of this illustrator/designer from down under for a few years now. He is a three-time Spectrum Award winner and a two-time Communication Arts winner. You may know him by his work at Popbot or Bambaland but recently he just started up his own blog (who hasn’t?). It’s not much right now, but it is interesting to get some insight into the mind and process of an amazing artist. Though he works mainly in oils, his philosophy is that people react simply to the drawings under it.
Random Link Dump:
James Traficant’s Prison Art - For Sale
Ziggy Stardust Comic Book
Graffiti Critique Sticker [PDF]
Gang of Four - Return the Gift
January 11th, 2006
I took some of my Christmas money and bought some books.
History of the Poster By Josef Muller-Brockmann
What can I say about this book? It’s awesome. Josef Muller-Brockmann is just awesome. This book is a landmark account of one of the most prolific visual traditions of our culture. Originally published in 1971, this essential study is clearly written and richly illustrated.
Dos Logos By Roland Muller
This book is the follow-up to Los Logos, which came out a few years back. All the logos in it are catalogued by subject and classified according to the industry or purpose for which it was designed (music, fashion, corporate, etc). It’s a beautiful book and great update on the current trends of branding design.
Making and Breaking the Grid By Timothy Samara
Don’t let anyone ever tell you its not all about the grid. Typographic grids are the common yet often times, most critical element of layout. This book explains the refined use of typographic grids as well as the means to break away from the convention of them.
Gas Book 8: Blue Source By Design Exchange
Number 8 in the always fresh line of Gas Books and DVDs. This one is about Blue Source, a design studio out of London. They’ve done work for Adidas, Chemical Brothers, Coldplay and Dirty Vegas. I like it!
Iconography 2 By Systems Design Ltd.
Iconography 2 is all about the world of icons in all shapes, sizes and applications. Includes fonts, wallpapers, screen savers, desktop icons, and motion works. Only gets 2 stars because the CD is very buggy!
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder By Frank Miller + Jim Lee
So it’s obvious that I’ve got a soft spot for comic books, but if you’re a casual fan or collector you should check out the brand new All-Star Batman and Robin. It’s amazing because the story is done by Frank Miller of Sin City fame and the artwork is by Jim Lee, who is probably the most famous comic book artist of my lifetime. Anyways, it’s great. A+
January 9th, 2006